Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 3789–3799 | Cite as

Candidate mechanisms controlling the electrical characteristics of silica/XLPE nanodielectrics

  • Mihir Roy
  • J. Keith Nelson
  • R. K. MacCrone
  • L. S. SchadlerEmail author


The incorporation of silica nanoparticles into polyethylene has been shown to increase the breakdown strength significantly compared to composites with micron scale fillers. Additionally, the voltage endurance of the nanocomposites is two orders of magnitude higher than that of the base polymer. The most significant difference between micron-scale and nano-scale fillers is the large interfacial area in nanocomposites. Because the interfacial region (interaction zone) is likely to be pivotal in controlling properties, this paper compares the behavior of nanoscale silica/cross-linked low density polyethylene nanocomposites with several silica surface treatments. In addition to breakdown strength and voltage endurance, dielectric spectroscopy, absorption current measurements, and thermally stimulated current determinations (TSC) were performed to elucidate the role of the interface. It was found that a reduction in the mobility in nanocomposites as well as a change in the defect size may be key to explaining the improvement in the properties.


Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Breakdown Strength Trap Depth Thermally Stimulate Current Base Resin 



The authors are grateful to the Electric Power Research Institute for the support of this activity and to Professor Fothergill’s research group at the University of Leicester, UK for the contribution of pulsed electroacoustic measurements. Discussions with Dr. Clive Reed on the chemical aspects of this work are also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihir Roy
    • 1
  • J. Keith Nelson
    • 2
  • R. K. MacCrone
    • 1
  • L. S. Schadler
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Materials Science and Engineering DepartmentRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA
  2. 2.Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering DepartmentRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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